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Neuroscience. 2001;107(4):641-52.

Localization of the CB1 type cannabinoid receptor in the rat basolateral amygdala: high concentrations in a subpopulation of cholecystokinin-containing interneurons.

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Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.


The neuronal localization of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor in the rat basolateral amygdala was studied using peroxidase and fluorescence immunohistochemical techniques. All nuclei of the basolateral amygdala contained a large number of lightly stained pyramidal neurons and a small number of more intensely stained non-pyramidal neurons. Most of the latter cells had medium-sized to large multipolar somata and three to four aspiny dendrites, but some exhibited smaller oval somata. The axon initial segments of some of these non-pyramidal neurons exhibited large swollen varicosities in colchicine-injected animals, suggesting that much of the CB1 receptor protein is transported down the axons of these cells. Double-labeling studies using immunofluorescence histochemistry combined with confocal laser scanning microscopy revealed that the great majority of non-pyramidal neurons with CB1 receptor immunoreactivity belonged to a cholecystokinin-containing subpopulation. Whereas none of the other subpopulations of non-pyramidal neurons (exhibiting immunoreactivity for calretinin, parvalbumin, or somatostatin) expressed high levels of CB1 receptor immunoreactivity, a small percentage of these cells exhibited low levels of immunoreactivity. The results indicate that cannabinoids may modulate the activity of pyramidal projection neurons as well as a subpopulation of cholecystokinin-containing non-pyramidal neurons in the basolateral amygdala. Previous studies indicate that most of the latter are inhibitory interneurons that utilize GABA as a neurotransmitter. The intense staining of the cholecystokinin-containing interneurons and the evidence that large amounts of CB1 receptor protein are transported down the axons of these cells suggests that, as in the hippocampus, cannabinoids may inhibit the release of GABA from the axon terminals of these neurons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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